Toko 1/72 Nieuport 16c
The Neiuport 16 (or XVI if you prefer) was basically an upgrade of the very successful Nieuport 11 'Bebe'. That aircraft had proven itself to be a very capable scout (as fighters were called in those days). However, it was burdened by a lack of power from its 80hp LeRhone 9C engine.
The logical thing to do was to upgrade the engine. This was done by installing either 110hp LeRhone 9J or Clerget 9Zs of 120 hp. It was also the first time that unguided rockets were carried by aircraft, the Nieuport 16 being able to carry four on each wing. These were extremely potent weapons for 'balloon busting', the very dangerous mission of destroying enemy hydrogen-filled observation balloons. If the attacking aircraft was too close to the balloon when it exploded, it could easily be caught in the fireball. It was also not unheard of for the rockets to malfunction and being unguided with no stabilizing fins, the rockets had to be released at rather close range to be effective. The aircraft was very successfully used by ace Albert Ball in the early stages of his flying career. It was also license built by the Russians and Italians for their use at this time.
Before their demise, Toko was steadily gaining a reputation for their superb 1/72 WWI models. This Nieuport 16 is no exception. The detailing of the fabric surfaces is quite good and not as pronounced as you may have seen on other models. The overall quality of the molds is good with little flash and no ejector pin marks. Some of the parts are quite petite so care will be needed removing them from the sprues.
Even with a small and relatively simple aircraft as this is, there are a number of parts and some optional ones. These options are in the choice of upper wing machine gun (Lewis or Colt) and the decision as to whether to use the rockets or not. You may also place your Nieuport on skis if you so wish as they are provided as well.
The instructions are the usual multiple construction sequence and are quite good. Color information is referenced to Humbrol paint and a generic name is given as well. You get a rather impressive selection of decal options with this kit; a total of four in all. One is a multi colored plane as shown on thebox art of Albert Ball of 11 Sq RFC. An unknown French plane with an upper color of dark green is the next subject. Then there is a Russian version in overall linen color with enough roundels to equip two planes!! This version is shown on skis. Finally, there is a Lafayette Escadrille N.16c in a three tone camo scheme. The decals themselves are very well printed and should work quite well.
Overall, this looks like a really neat little kit. It is highly recommended if you have an interest in the aircraft of this period.
Review kit courtesy of me and my wallet!
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